Thursday, May 9, 2019

Make it Modern with Island Batik

I have a confession.  I don't consider myself a modern quilter.

Well, I guess that depends on your definition.  I live in the modern world, I use modern techniques, I like some aspects of a modern aesthetic. But the "Make it Modern" theme for May's Island Batik challenge had me worried if I could do something modern enough.  I had a plan for a courthouse steps variation that would work.  But I wasn't excited about it.  It would check the box but didn't feel like me, and that's not the point.  So I kept thinking about something modern that felt like me.  I was taking a walk by a river on a gorgeous day and there were all these turtles sunning themselves.  And it clicked.  Improv Turtles!!!!!!

I used the Turtle Block pattern by Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts. The pattern is for two sizes, 4" x 10" and 8" x 20".  I made the smaller size.  I absolutely adore Lorna's patterns!

I decided to improv piece the shell part of the turtle and trim to size, then make the turtle block as directed.  I used the green/turquoise scraps from the Flea Market collection by Island Batik as well as any greens from my Island Batik stash builder rows.

For the turtle bodies, I used the lighter colors from Flea Market as well as some yellow from the stash builder rolls.  The background is a black batik solid.  The bright batiks pop so well against the black! These are essentially the same fabrics I used in the April challenge with a totally different look!
All Aboard the Accuquilt Express!

I really wanted to take the turtles out for a fun photo op.  Our Easter tradition is to go to the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC (about 90 miles away).  So I finished up the binding in the car on the way to the zoo and set out to find the turtles.  This turtle statue meant I could put the quilt on a turtle without getting kicked out of the zoo!

One of my favorite non-animal parts of a zoo is a little garden with rocks painted to look like different animals.  There was a turtle-rock hanging out by the pond!

There are two huge Galapagos Tortoises at our zoo.  I was able to get one of them along a stretch of fence with no other visitors around.

There are also several much smaller radial tortoises.  These were harder to capture with pictures, but I did get two of them.

notice the feet of my short helper
The fabrics were provided to me by Island Batik and the batting was provided by Hobbs.  May's challenge is co-sponsored by Hobbs.  Since I had such a dark background, I used Hobbs black batting.  This was my first time using dark batting and I loved it!  No white puffs on my dark fabric!! And it quilted beautifully.
Hobbs black batting
The official challenge was, "Must incorporate one of the characteristics of modern quits as defined by the Modern Quilt Guild: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, alternative grid work."

 So let's break it down:
  • improvisational piecing
  • negative space 
  • solid color
  • bold colors/high contrast
  • asymmetrical (not on the list, but I feel like that's also a calling card of modern quilts)
So I guess I am a modern quilter!  Or I can at least veer into that territory occasionally.  I loved working making the turtles and even enjoyed the improv piecing for the shells.  I'm so glad I waited until I had a project that feels both modern and me!

This quilt was #5 on my list of Q2 finish along goals. It measures 40" x 44" and I'm calling it Modern Turtle Race. 

Edited to add: I'm choosing this as my Favorite Finish for the month of May and will be linking up with Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs for her linky party. 


  1. Beautiful, I adore your turtles!

  2. I just love your tutrles!!

  3. Very cute. The improv makes it so unique. Love the photo op as well.

  4. A very fun finish! Love your zoo photos.

  5. Oh my gosh -- so cute! Love the quilt and your zoo outing was perfect for the photo shoot!

  6. Adorable!!! Love that you found a turtle to model all the colorful fabric turtles :-)

  7. Emily, this is fantastic. Modern quilting means so many things and this definitely fits the bill. Black batting must have been so nice. I really dislike when I see the bits of white pulling through. I have this gorgeous dark color (jewel tones) Amish quilt that I bought many years ago. I treasure it but the white bits of fuzz just make me crazy.

    The photo shoot is great fun. So cute with all the different turtle themes. Well done!!

  8. I thought when I signed up for your mailing list that I would be notified of new postings on darling dogwood. But I just saw your post on Facebook and that's how I found these. I'm wondering why I did not get email notification. Any ideas? I love the turtles. Do you know that the turtle is your Aunt Ann's spirit animal? Turtle is to Ann as Buffalo is to me.

  9. I love your little turtles! What a wonderful use of improv piecing!

  10. I looove the turtles and those pictures! Great work - it is definitely a modern quilt and please enjoy it lots :) Also so can relate to the struggle with work that is not "you" part... xo Melanie

  11. I love your turtles and their placement in growing lines!
    I had seen the turtle block from Lorna, and thought about making something for a friend who collects turtle. But I thought "with one block I can only make a pillow". Turns out I was clearly wrong

  12. This is too cute and I love the photo of the quilt on the turtle statue!

  13. What a great quilt! I love it!

  14. Thank you for participating in the FAL, on behalf of the 2019 global FAL hosts.